The Man Burqa and Other Oddities in Hockey by Jennifer Zane

Friday, January 17, 2014

I'm not a big professional sports fan. I'm the first to admit it. I watch the last 2 minutes of the final game of the Final 4, the last game of the World Series, the Super Bowl (if there's good food being served), the final game of the Stanley Cup. This isn't an in-depth post on sports stats, who's been traded or why the Super Bowl is being hosted in colder climes. This blog post is about professional sports players from the not-so-sporty perspective. It's geared to lots of women--and some men--who aren't into 'all that.'

It's about why I think hockey players are the most attractive, the most appealing of the bunch.

I'm not only considering physical beauty. Yes, being hot is good. But also kindness, a sense of humor, humbleness, a little bit of macho-ness. What I don't find attractive in most sports players is being cocky. They're at the top of their game. Why shouldn't they be cocky? For one very good reason: they should be humble instead.

So what sport has the most attractive players? Hockey.


1. Hockey players wear modest uniforms. Sure, they're covered head-to-toe in protective gear against cross-checking, slashing and even ungraceful and unexpected falls on the ice. No one can see their physical form; practically no skin is exposed except for only certain parts of their head. One is left to wonder about what's underneath. That's even more true for a goalie. They even wear a full face shield. It's practically a burqa. A Murqa (a man-burqa). Hockey players provide an air of mystery, let's the imaginations of hot-blooded people run wild.

In comparison, a football player's uniform also has protective padding. But what's the deal with their tight pants? Squatting down so their rear end is in the air and the TV camera focuses right on it? And it's doubly bad when the uniform is white. Clearly men don't know that white is not flattering. No woman would be caught dead in skin tight WHITE leggings with their butt facing the camera. That's why yoga pants are black.

Football players are obviously trying to show off their physique, to preen their backsides to everyone in the American football loving world. There is absolutely zero mystery. You know what you're getting upfront (or in back).

2. They aren't afraid to hide their flaws. When a camera zooms in on a hockey player's face, frequently you see a missing tooth, a crooked nose, a split eyebrow. They leave their fake teeth in the locker room and aren't afraid to show the 'real' man. They're confident in themselves in a way that's deeper than just looks. Any woman knows this is the worst they'll look and can only get better. No holds (or teeth) barred. Don't just take my word for it, the Bleacher Report agrees:

Photo Credit of Chris Neil- Getty

3. Hockey players aren't afraid to take a hit. Slashing, high sticks, body slams, whatever. Hockey players can take it. Sure, all that padding is for more than just modesty (see #1). Hockey players don't whine and fuss when they get taken out. They get back up again and keep on going. Basketball players, on the other hand, get fouled if they even brush up against another player. Are they that dainty they need the ref to protect them from everything?

4. No news is good news. Have you ever heard in the news of a hockey player who had to sit out a season because of drug use like in baseball? In jail for murder like in football? A bar brawl like in basketball? Anything?

5. They're not cocky. They might have one, but they don't have to be one. When they score a goal, they don't dance around in the goal box like a football player in the end zone. They don't dunk and swing from the net (not that it's possible) to strut their stuff. They skate over to their teammates on the bench and get high fives. They're being good sports, not a preening cock. (This is a romance blog; that word is used a lot in romance. It's practically mandatory)

Is this sports-newsworthy for the likes of Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report? Probably not. But for a romance writer like me, a blogger, a woman who barely watches professional sports, I think about the important things when I'm stuck watching a game:

Hot men.

In this day and age where sports players are de facto role models for children, where they are social media royalty, one has to wonder--who would one want to date? Who would one want their sons to emulate?

For me, the answer is a hockey player. A good sportsman who's mysterious, modest, rough and able to take a hit without a ref saving them, flaw-riddled and completely out of the spotlight.

I may have to make him the hero in my next book.

Jennifer Zane's new book, Liar, Liar, Hearts On Fire is now available on Amazon.